Monrovia – Orange Foundation and UN women have partnered to implement a joint project on leveraging digital inclusion for the Economic empowerment and the resilience to disasters of rural women smallholders and entrepreneurs in Liberia (4WEE).
Ms. Sara E. Buchanan Executive Director orange foundation said, through the joint project, digital inclusion is the entry point to strengthen the economic empowerment and the resilience to disasters of small holder women farmers. The project is partnering with the Government of Liberia through the Cooperative Development Agency, Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Gender for successful implementation.
By: Henry Karmo
According to her UN women is seeking collaborations with other UN entities WFP and FAO to add value to the project by harnessing their comparative advantages. The project objective aligns with the Liberia Pro poor Agenda for prosperity and Development (PAPD 2018-2023) and the UNSDC 2020-2024.
With the duration of 21 months ending in December 2023, the project has commenced its implementation in three targeted counties to include Bong, Lofa and Nimba with 1200 small holders’ women famers.
The D4WEE intervention areas include, improving access to markets and learning opportunities through consolidation and scale up of a digital platform under the buy from women initiative. In addition to access to markets, the platform is being designed to provide information on climate smart agriculture practices, nutrition, seeds, DRR and finances.
The D4WEE also intervene in areas that educate the targeted small holder women farmers on literacy and numeracy, business development and financial skills, knowledge building in value addition, and marketing.
The project also improves access to disaster risk reduction, risk and finance by enhancing scope to include mobile-enabled disaster information, insurance, weather forecast and alerts and climate smart agricultural advisories.
The project among many things will prevent of limit farmers from selling to middlemen. They will instead advertise on the Buy from Women platform for people to see and buy directly from them. From beneficiaries of the project also believe that the introduction of the modern way of doing business is an advantage to attract and maintain customers.
Liberia is experiencing an increase in access to and use of information and communication Technology (ICT) which impacts women, their households and the community inclusive access to digital technology enhances the ability of women farmers to reach markets and bridges the gender gap in technology.
Additionally, SMS messaging services by orange and Lone Star MTN in the country have allowed women vegetable and fruit sellers to contract directly with producers. Moreover, smallholder women and youth farmers in Liberia have been highly vulnerable to shocks, given the inevitability of environmental hazards and increased unpredictability brought by climate change.
The buy-from-women platform provides opportunities for leveraging existing digital solutions in Liberia with appropriate innovations to build resilience, facilitate access to markets, finance, and mobile-based disaster risk reduction information in order to increase production for small holder women and youth farmers.